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Ambitious is one word that comes to mind when describing Brienne Ghafourifar, who succeeded in raising $1 million for her startup Entefy. This makes her the youngest college graduate to raise $1 million in funding.
Brienne, who graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in economics last June, co-founded the company with her brother Alston, 20. Brienne just turned 18 on April 29.
Aside from having to give up chocolate because she’s allergic, the biggest challenge she’s taken on was staying focused on finishing college while simultaneously dealing with all the excitement and energy needed when starting a company from scratch.
Entefy, a Palo Alto based company, integrates communications, search, and cloud storage.
She said their app would be similar to Google in that it promotes centralization, but that the problem she sees with Google is that nothing integrates or works together.
“Our product is a star,” she said. “It’s extremely beneficial just with the level of convenience, efficiency and centralization.”
Though in stealth mode right now, Entefy aims to be a single application that goes across multiple media platforms, such as e-mail, text, voice, video, social, search and storage into one entity.
Brienne said her company will also make privacy a priority--Entefy users' information will not be shared with outside parties.
So has her youth made it difficult for her to fundraise?
“I think once in a while there’s been concern over age, but I’ve gotten to work with visionary people,” she said. “There were some ups and downs, but we’ve been lucky we’ve gotten to work with the right people.”
The teen adds that her background has helped her succeed as well. Her parents, who raised Brienne and her brother in the Menlo Park area, own a series of businesses, including a venture architecture firm.
Brienne graduated from high school at the age of 15 through an accelerated high school program. Time is something that is of value to Brienne.
‘I was inspired to start Entefy because I saw that it would allow us to make a huge impact in a short amount of time,” she said. “Time is precious and I wanted the opportunity to take full advantage of every moment. That included going to school and co-founding a start up without having to choose one over the other.”
She looks forward to being able to vote and hopefully start driving once her birthday rolls around.
Where does she see herself in five years?
“Hoping far with Entefy since the opportunities are endless for a solution like this,” she said. “My dream is democratize access to information around the world and to break more barriers.”
“Looking back, the challenge of juggling college and a startup helped prepare me for what was coming next: Building a team, developing product, and raising capital,” she said.
“I see this $1 million milestone as only the next step in an ongoing journey. When it comes down to it, success can be defined by the impact you’re making—in your family, community, and the world. So while I celebrate the milestones along the way, I realize that this is just the beginning.”